OCEAN PINES – A $10,000 grant is expected to improve walking trails in Ocean Pines.
Last week, the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors voted to approve a grant application seeking $10,271 to improve trail infrastructure within the community.
“We’re actually under a time constraint as for approval for a grant, which is being submitted through AARP,” said Director Rick Farr, board liaison for the association’s Recreation and Parks Committee. “The Recreation and Parks Committee, together with the Recreation and Parks Department, would like to submit a grant application to AARP to receive funds to make improvements to the Library Trail and the Robin Hood Trail in leveling of the surfaces, improving drainage and safety, adding trail signage with distances and arrows and larger informational signs with maps for the trail entrances.”
Committee Chair Patti Stevens told board members the grant proposal also included a plan to host monthly walks once trail improvements are made. She said part of the grant funding, if awarded, would be used to install trail counters.
“Part of what AARP’s focus is is to build community engagement and connected communities,” she said. “We think walking together is a really great way to do that, but we need to make the trails safer … The infrastructure improvements are one part, and fostering and facilitating community walks is the second part.”
When asked if the proposal complemented ongoing infrastructure work at the staff level, General Manager John Viola said it did.
“This fits right in …,” he said. “We definitely welcome this.”
Director Amy Parks said data from the association’s most recent community survey supported the grant application.
“The community survey showed that the number one response was for improved walking trails and bike trails …,” she said. “36.2% of survey respondents were very or extremely interested in improved walking trails. And in the survey the walking trails had the highest claim of usage with 1,216 of the survey respondents, or 66% of all the respondents, saying they used the trails.”
Director Colette Horn said she was also in support of the grant application, but shared her concern over some of the claims in the application form.
“I’m in support of this, conceptually,” she said. “I think it’s a little misleading in this grant application to say any of these trails are going to make it possible for people who don’t have transportation to more easily access any of the public services in this area.”
After further discussion, a motion to approve the grant application in the amount of $10,271 passed unanimously.